The Heisman race: How do the players compare?
There’s just one week left of the regular college football season for 2023 and Jayden Daniels has overtaken Bo Nix in the Heisman trophy race.
With just one week left in the 2023 regular season of college football, LSU quarterback Jayden Daniels has the slight edge as the favorite to win the Heisman Trophy, though there are three others who aren’t far behind in the race.
Daniels has one game left to prove that he’s the best. Besides him, there is Oregon quarterback Bo Nix and Washington quarterback Michael Penix Jr., who are just a win away from facing each other in the Pac-12 championship, a game that could decide the Heisman winner between the two. Then, there’s Ohio State wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr., who’s chances may not be as high as the others’, but has two games to increase those chances before the end of the season. Let’s have a look at these four candidates and see how they compare.
Jayden Daniels, LSU quarterback
Even though LSU has now been eliminated from playoff contention, but that hasn’t eliminated Daniels from Heisman contention. The last quarterback to win a Heisman despite three regular season losses was Lamar Jackson in 2016, so it’s not unheard of.
Daniels’ ridiculous stats are what bumped him up in the race to begin with. He currently has 3,577 yards for a nation-high 36 touchdowns on the season, plus 10 rushing touchdowns and just four interceptions. Without a playoff game, this Saturday’s game against Texas A&M will be his last chance to prove himself.
Bo Nix, Oregon quarterback
The Oregon Ducks will play one more game before securing a Pac-12 championship game and it’s against the Oregon State Beavers, a game that won’t be easy. If they win, they will face Washington in a showdown with Nix and fellow Heisman candidate Michael Penix Jr. The first time Oregon played Washington, Nix put up 337 yards for two touchdowns.
Nix is coming off of back-to-back 400-yard passing performances with 10 total touchdowns. He’s thrown for 3,539 yards (fourth in the nation) and 35 touchdowns (second in the nation after Daniels) this season and just two interceptions. Another two standout performances could win him the Heisman. However, if the Ducks end up losing to the Beavers and Arizona beats Arizona State, then the Ducks would be out of the CFP picture and Nix’s chances of winning the Heisman would likely be over.
Michael Penix Jr., Washington quarterback
Although Penix has dropped in the Heisman race recently, he’s not out. He still leads the nation with 3,695 passing yards, but has just 30 touchdowns and seven interceptions. His advantage right now is that he’s got a secured two games left to impress the voters. He’ll play the Apple Cup against Washington State and then the Pac-12 Championship game, which (unlike Oregon) Washington already secured.
Washington is undefeated, but Penix threw for a season-low 162 yards in their last victory over Oregon State and has not put up the kind of performances he was earlier in the season, which is why he’s fallen behind. If he can get two more wins on top of the undefeated season, though, he may just jump up in the race.
Marvin Harrison Jr., Ohio State wide receiver
Harrison is much further behind in this race and jumping ahead of three quarterbacks won’t be an easy task. He’s got two games left to do his absolute best if he wants to win this race. On Saturday, Ohio State will face the Michigan Wolverines and Harrison will need to have the best pass-catching performance of his career and a win.
A win would send Ohio State to the Big Ten Championship Game against the Iowa Hawkeyes, where Harrison would again need to have one of the best performances of his career in order to swing the voters.